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ARGENTINA | 30-04-2019 11:44

National strike against economic policies cuts off Subte, some buses, flights

Labour unions went on strike today to protest against the government's economic policies, forcing hundreds of flights to be cancelled.

Labour unions went on strike today to protest against the government's economic policies, shutting down some public transportation in the capital and forcing hundreds of flights to be cancelled.

Dozens of bus lines, which are privately owned in Buenos Aires, participated in the protest scheduled to last 24 hours. The Subte underground system was also closed. Overground trains and other buses were functioning as normal. Many banks were closed.

Airports were affected too. A spokesman for Aerolíneas Argentinas said 350 flights were cancelled due to the strike, affecting more than 22,000 passengers.

The action comes just 24 hours before International Workers' Day tomorrow (May 1), which will see an almost entire shutdown of transport options. However, today's strike was not as well observed as previous shutdowns, lacking the backing of the powerful CGT umbrella union grouping.

Protest

Workers are protesting the austerity measures that President Mauricio Macri is implementing to comply with the terms of a record US$56-billion credit line from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which remains unpopular in Argentina after previous crises.

The government has threatened to sanction the labour groupings with heavy fines, as tensions increase just six months before the country goes to the polls for the general elections.

President Macri, who faces re-election this year, needs the support of the fund to appease financial markets and avoid another currency crisis in the country.

"Today is a 'No' to the politics of hunger," said CTA union leader Hugo Yasky at a rally.

Recession

The removal of government subsidies has led to significant increases in bus fares and utility bills over the length of the Macri administration.

Despite a recession, Argentina’s inflation is now running at more than 55 percent per year, with the rate coming in at 47.6 percent in 2018. At present, price increases show no sign of slowing, with inflation already totalling 11.8 percent in the first quarter of 2019.

Unemployment is also on the rise, reaching 9.1 percent at the end of 2018, as is poverty. Yesterday, the Catholic University of Argentina (UCA) said that child poverty stood at 41.2 percent at the close of last year.

- TIMES/AFP/BLOOMBERG

 

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